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Guide to Facebook Ads, part three: Creating a campaign

It’s time for part three of my guide to Facebook Ads! After covering the basics of boosting a post and the Ads Manager, let’s dive into creating your first campaign. The process is a little more involved than with boosting a simple post, but once you create a few campaigns, it’ll get easier! You’ll also have the option to duplicate ads, sets and whole campaigns instead of starting from scratch every time.

Getting started

To start, get to your Ads Manager and at the top left, click on the Create button.

It opens a pop-up screen where you can build the structure of your campaigns, with the ad sets and ads inside.

Tip: At the top right, you can select Switch to Guided Creation, which is a more simplistic interface that works well if you have a single campaign with one ad. To manage several campaigns, ad sets and ads, I prefer the Quick Creation. Pick the one you prefer — what I write below applies to both.

Start by naming your campaign. The Buying Type has only one option, so leave it like this. Split Test will be useful for more advanced users, so leave it unchecked for now (we’ll talk about his in next’s week post).

The Campaign Objective is very important. It has a lot of options, so pause for a minute and think about what you’re trying to achieve: Engagement, lead generation or traffic to your website?

For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to select Traffic (some of the screens later will be different if you pick a different objective).

If you want to set a budget for your entire campaign, you can do it here with Budget Optimization. I usually recommend doing that later at the Ad Set level, as it provides more control.

You can create Ad Sets and Ads here or do it later in the Ads Manager main interface. If you are creating several Ad Sets and Ads, you’ll need to create them later in the main interface. Select Skip Ad Set in the drop-down. If it’s your first campaign, start with one Ad Set and one Ad here.

Once you’ve named your Campaign, your Ad Set and you Ad, click on Save to Draft at the bottom right.

Creating your campaign

It brings you back to the main interface and opens the Campaign screen on the right.

This screen has two parts: Your Campaign structure on the left (see below) and the Campaign details on the right. Let’s start with the Campaign. There shouldn’t be much to change here, as all the options were on the previous screen. You can add a general Campaign Spending Limit, which is helpful if you need to follow a budget and have several ads.

Creating your Ad Set

Once you’re done with the campaign, click on your Ad Set in the left column. It brings up a new screen on the right, with all the settings for your Ad Set. The first thing to consider is where you want to drive traffic, depending on your needs (if you didn’t select Traffic as your Campaign Objective earlier, this screen will look different).

The next two options are for advanced users, and we’ll leave them unchecked for now.

The next step is to set your budget. You can set up a Daily Budget or a Lifetime Budget. If you pick a Lifetime Budget, Facebook will automatically spread the money evenly. Then pick a start day and time. For the end date, don’t forget to set one, as otherwise, Facebook will keep running your ad!

Then let’s move on the Audience section. Most of the options are pretty self-explanatory, but for more details, refer to my previous post about the Ads Manager, where I go into details about the audiences.

I suggest you start with simple settings, to test out the interface and how your ad performs. For example, I’d like to target people in Boston who have an interest in architectural photography. To help you narrow down your audience, there are two useful tools on the right of the screen, the Audience Definition and the Estimated Daily Results.

The Audience Definition gives you an idea of how broad the total audience you’re targeting is. You won’t reach that entire audience unless you spend a whole lot of money. It is good to have an audience that is somewhat specific, as targeting millions of people might not be effective unless you’re Nike or Coca-Cola.

The Estimated Daily Results show you how many people you might reach with the current Audience and Budget settings. It also shows you how many link clicks you might expect.

Let’s take an example. With the default budget and the default audience (United States), the screen looks like this:

As you can see, it’s a lot of people, probably too much. If I target Boston only, I significantly reduce the number of people.

And if I had “architectural photography” as an interest, it drops to a more manageable audience of 270,000 people. I might even want to add more specifics, targeting a specific age range or other parameters.

Your Estimated Daily Results also decreased, but it might not be a bad thing. It’s better to get the right people to your website, instead of a lot of uninterested people. I strongly suggest you play with the parameters and test several combinations, through multiple Ad Sets. Testing is the best way to get better results.

The next section is Placement. By default, Facebook automatically decides where your ad will be best seen on his platform. It can appear in multiple places: Newsfeed, Marketplace, Stories, Messenger, Instagram, etc. You can select where you want the ad to be, but in my experience, Facebook does a better job. It might be worth removing the ones where your ad format won’t work. For example, a square image might not do well in stories.

The last section allows you to optimize your Ad Set even more.

I wouldn’t change most settings, except for Optimization for Ad Delivery. You can decide what you want the ads to be optimized for: Are you looking to have a lot of page views on your site, a lot of clicks on the ad, a lot of impressions or reaching people only once a day? I usually use Landing Page Views when I’m trying to get people to my website, as what I care about is getting people to actually go all the way to my site.

Creating your ad

Let’s move on to the Ad itself, by clicking on your ad in the left column. It pulls up the Ad screen, which as settings in the left column and the ad preview on the right. As you set up your ad, you’ll be able to see the results on the right.

The first settings are which Facebook Page and Instagram account your ad will run on. You don’t have to have an Instagram account here if you just want to run your ad on Facebook. I will talk about Instagram ads in a future post, don’t worry! For now, just now that you can run your ad on both platforms at the same time.

Let’s actually create your ad. If this process has been a little frustrating and abstract, it’s understandable. Here’s where you get to be a little more creative and actually design your ad. First, you can either create a new ad or select Use Existing Post, which will be the equivalent to boosting a post.

If you’re creating a new ad, you need to pick your format: an image/video, a carousel or a collection. Let’s start with a simple image, you can explore more options later.

Instant Experience is a recently-added option to ad a landing page inside of Facebook. We’ll get into this later, as it adds an extra layer of complexity.

Next, select your image or video and upload it. Facebook gives you some tips for the image you’re picking. Keep in mind to avoid text on your images as much as you can.

Then you get a few important settings (note that these might be a little different depending on your Campaign Objective).

First, select the type of link (to a website or a Facebook event). For the purposes of this post, I’m selecting Website.

Then add the Text of your ad. It’s the text explaining what this ad is about, as you would talk in a regular Facebook post. It’s displayed above the image.

If you are publishing your ad to stories, you can Edit Stories Background Colors. The Website URL is pretty straightforward. The Display Link is the URL that will be displayed (but not the actual link that users will be taken to). If your link is long, it might be worth just display the website URL here.

The Headline is a short title that speaks to your viewer. Like “Download Your Free eBook!”

The News Feed Link Description is to describe what people will see/get when they click on your ad.

The Call To Action is the text that will appear on the button that people will click. The drop-down has several options, pick the one suited to your needs.

Now your ad should show up in the Ad Preview on the right. It’s great to visualize the ad and where the text goes. You can make sure it looks great on all placements by clicking on the top left drop-down.

Finally, you can set up some tracking parameters. It’s another advanced section and if you’re a beginner, you can probably ignore it. If you have a Facebook Pixel, turn tracking on. We’ll talk about the Pixel in our next post.

Wrapping it up

Once everything is set, click Publish at the bottom right of the screen. Your ad will be reviewed within a few hours (often less).

I hope this was helpful. It’s a lot of information and the only way to do this is to jump in and try it for yourself! If you have any questions, leave a comment below, always happy to help.

I’ll be back next week with some tips about how to optimize campaigns and we’ll start diving into more advanced stuff (as if it’s not complicated enough already)!

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